Writer's Excerpts

Family Parade

by Gul Joya Jafri

published in TOK: Writing the New City - Book 4

The household is in a state of chaos.

My mother rushes around the kitchen grabbing tin foil, plastic wrap and lunch bags for the aloo-chutney sandwiches spread in rows on the kitchen table.

“Oh Ji,” she shouts to my father, who is running up and down stairs gathering picnic supplies. “Can you get my purse from the closet? And grab my sunglasses too!”

My little sister Anika bounces a rubber ball along the kitchen walls yelling “Orange! Crush! Pepsi!”—with a loud thump following each exclamation—in imitation of a game I gave up playing last year. As usual, she forgets to say “Cola!” at the end.

Meanwhile, my grandmother shuffles down the hallway, lamenting her aching bones a bit more loudly than usual, and mutters about going out in hot weather. And my aunt and cousins, who have just arrived, talk all at once in the entryway, urging us “Chalo! Chalo!”—hurry up—so that we will not be late for the parade.

Upstairs, I am seated on my bed, arms crossed, tapping my heels with impatience. I have been waiting to use the bathroom down the hall, which my grandfather has occupied for the last half hour.

To read the full piece, purchase TOK: Writing the New City - Book 4